Our itinerary had us heading from Hanmer up Lewis Pass towards the West Coast, destination Moana on Lake Brunner. However the weather forecast wasn’t too favourable with rain expected on the West of the divide and a strong westerly (head) wind.
The nice thing about supported rides is you can change the plan, within reason, and they did. We drove from Hanmer to the top, actually just over the top, of Lewis Pass to ride downhill with a strong tailwind towards Hanmer. I can now say I have cycled over Lewis Pass, if only from a rest area a few kilometres below the summit!
In short the rest of the ride was awesome. Although there still were a few hills, climbing over bluffs, to cycle over 60km mostly at an effortless 30+ km/h through wonderful scenery was seriously nice. I had a, for me, large breakfast of French Toast (Powerhouse Café Hanmer is good) but didn’t think a “Wide Load Follows” pilot vehicle was justified. Turns out Bas had not arranged it and I was drafting the escort for a truck & large excavator which caught us up a few kilometres down the road. Although sparse the traffic has been great on this trip with even the large trucks leaving generous gaps.
Must admit feeling a little guiltily when I met a serious touring cyclist slogging up the pass into a howling headwind. That feeling soon passed as yet another downhill beckoned. I didn’t watch the speedo but the max speed setting showed 80.6 km/h after one rather rapid descent. The (rented) Trek road bike handled it nicely, stable and secure even at slightly silly speeds. Luckily it had a max speed memory on the trip meter so I could take the photo at a mere 28 km/h!
After a late lunch stop at Hanmer — thanks for use of your house John! — we retraced our route towards Moana. By now the West Coast weather had crossed the Alps so high cloud and very occasional sprinkles of rain replaced the morning sun. As I wrote this (draft post done on the bus) we passed the serious cyclist again, he didn’t want a lift, still slogging up the pass. These “Coffee and Chardonnay” trips, as it has been dubbed, are a much more comfortable way to travel.
Photo of me finishing the Lewis Pass blast by Robbie.